MSU and USPS host 2nd annual passport drive
Minot State University’s Office of International Programs and the Minot office of the United States Postal Service are sponsoring a passport drive on Nov. 18 in the Multicultural Center (Student Center, first floor), 2:30-6:30 p.m. This passport drive will make it convenient for American students, faculty, staff and community members to apply for a passport book or the new passport card.
"The goal of the passport drive is twofold: first to make it a quick and simple process for students, faculty, staff and the community, and second, to raise awareness of international travel in general," said Libby Claerbout, director of international programs. "Holding a passport is the first step to embarking upon an international experience."
Last year’s passport drive was initiated as a result of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security making it mandatory to show a passport when traveling between the United States and Canada, Mexico and other places in Latin America after Dec. 31, 2008. With the implementation of this requirement being extended to June 1, 2009, OIP and USPS are encouraging individuals to take advantage of this event to apply for a passport or the new passport card.
In response to requests from border communities for a less expensive and more portable alternative to the traditional passport, the Department of State is now issuing a passport card. The new card would be beneficial to anyone who frequently travels across the border, such as truck drivers or farmers. However, it cannot, even in emergency situations, be used for travel by air.
A passport card holds the same validity period of 10 years as the passport book, but it facilitates entry only at U.S. land and sea ports of entry when arriving from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. Otherwise, it carries the same rights and privileges as the U.S. passport book and is adjudicated to the exact same standards. Although the new passport card does have its advantages, individuals are encouraged to apply for the more traditional passport book because of its greater flexibility.
Passport books cost $100 for adults and $85 for minors 16 years and under. Passport cards cost $45 for adults and $35 for those 16 years and under. The passport drive will also provide passport photos on location for an extra $15. To see a complete list of documents required to submit a passport or passport card application, visit the Office of International Programs’ Web site at www.minotstateu.edu/international.
The passport drive is one of several activities planned during International Education Week. IEW is a national effort to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States. This year, IEW will be celebrated from Nov. 17 to 21 with events that increase global awareness among those on the MSU campus and in the Minot area community. Events include an effort to collect study-abroad interest surveys, for which students will be entered into a drawing to win an MSU sweatshirt. The MSU Spanish Club will also offer salsa dance lessons.
Claerbout said that over 30 people applied for their first passport during last year’s event, and MSU and the USPS hope to double that number this year.